John Lewis site in Chichester takes shape for Easter opening

Taking shape - Gavin Smith, ocupation manager shows Claire Dunkason, branch manager the atrium and newly installed escalator at the John Lewis home store.''C120236-2 Chi John Lewis  Photo Louise Adams
Taking shape - Gavin Smith, ocupation manager shows Claire Dunkason, branch manager the atrium and newly installed escalator at the John Lewis home store.''C120236-2 Chi John Lewis Photo Louise Adams

MILLIONS of pounds worth of investment in a new John Lewis store for Chichester is fast taking shape in the city.

Located in Portfield Way on the site of the former MFI and Paul Simon outlets, it will be opening on Thursday, April 5, in time for the key Easter trading period.

As an At Home branch, its focus is on core electrical and furnishing goods, with additional ranges of travel and nursey products in response to customer feedback. There will also be cafe faciltiies at the two-storey store which features 350 car parking spaces. The launch day will feature live music performances and entertainment for customers.

Gavin Smith, occupation manager with the firm, is responsible for the final stage delivery of the project and believed it is well on course for completion.

He said: “We are on target for the store opening before Easter trading in April. It has had its challenges due to it having previously been two stores that we are creating ours from. Once the construction work is finished we will be doing the final shop work in eight days, which includes moving £3m worth of stock in just three days.

“Each shop has its own design elements which make it different from others in the group and in Chichester’s case that is in the layout of its escalator and some different offerings including nursery and travel goods.”

Branch manager Claire Dunkason is joining from her present role at the retailer’s Poole store and will shortly be joined by her team of around 140 employees next month.

She said: “I am so excited that we are going to be openign in just a few weeks time. For me this is all about the people that work here and they will be working at other stores including Southampton in the month before we open so they will familiarise themeselves with the company.”

Computer terminals in the branch will allow shoppers to browse the wider johnlewis.com assortment including fashion, beauty and carpets and order for home delivery or next day collection at the shop via the retailer’s ‘click and collect’ service.

This allows customers to order products from johnlewis.com before 7pm and collect them at the branch after 2pm the following day or opt for home delivery.